It has been 5 years since the last decisive game in the classical games of the World Championship matches – 17 draws till this day. The fourth game of the match against Ian Nepomniachtchi must have felt for Magnus Carlsen like the most symbolic moment to finally strike.
First of all, he would play as White after a rest day, which means more time for his team to prepare a worthy opening idea. Secondly, the game had to be played on Magnus’ birthday! He has had a good experience of playing on such a day: he defeated Sergey Karjakin in a tie-break match to defend his title in 2016.
The third game of the match finished in a seemingly uneventful draw, but actually, the day brought a lot of interesting things to discuss.
First of all, both of Nepomniachtchi’s central pawns happened to move forward on the first move. The guest of honor probably wanted Ian to start with 1.d4, but he brought the pawn back and started with 1.e4 instead.
If many people thought the first game of the World Championship match was interesting and exciting, the second game turned out to be a real thriller! Magnus Carlsen was determined to take the lead in the match with the White pieces, and it was interesting to see which central pawn he would start the game with. Funnily enough, both pawns went forward on move one: FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich made the first ceremonial move and played 1.e4, but once the guests of honor left the stage, Magnus brought the king’s pawn back and played 1.d4 instead. We can only guess what the challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi felt at that moment. Nevertheless, it did not confuse him.
The most awaited chess event of the year, the World Championship match, started today in Dubai. In the first game, the candidate Ian Nepomniachtchi from Russia had White pieces against the current world champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway.
Apart from the results, to most of the viewers, the most interesting part was to see what opening choices both players had prepared. Ian Nepomniachtchi started the game with his usual weapon 1.e4 – no surprises so far. In his previous World Championship match against Fabiano Caruana, Magnus went for the sharp Sicilian Defense.
The World Champion title in chess is different from the same title in the other kinds of sports where usually the holder can be changed every year. This is why the Olympic Gold is more valuable: the event takes place once in 4 years. To become the world champion in chess, one must beat the previous holder in a match. This is why the span can be much bigger. Let’s mention that Emanuel Lasker held the World Champion title for 27 years straight!
Benoni Defense comes from the Hebrew expression “Ben-Oni”, which means “son of my sorrow.” This might have given you melancholic impressions, but don’t let it deceive you. The Benoni Defense is one of the most aggressive chess openings. It leads to highly unbalanced positions, and players of all levels opt for it when they want to play for a win against 1.d4.
Ian Nepomniachtchi is a well-known person in the chess world. He is considered the best chess player in Russia and is also in the world’s top 4. Since childhood, his chess career has developed quite rapidly, but, oddly enough, he began to show himself in the chess elite relatively recently. From a young age, Ian was a versatile person with wide interests outside of chess, and there have been moments in his career when Ian had other hobbies as a priority.
Tired of White getting a stable advantage after 1.d4?
GM Marian Petrov recommends playing Benoni Defense, as an unorthodox weapon against 1.d4 players.
Hate theory? Love dynamic play?
If so, GM Marian Petrov has a great opening choice for you.
Play the Reti Opening.
Nimzo-Indian Defence is probably one of the most common answers against 1.d4 nowadays.
The defense was introduced by Aaron Nimzowitsch, the founder of hypermodern chess. Black doesn’t occupy the centre with pawns right from the start and plays for quick development.
The center is controlled first by the pieces and only later on black will decide on the central pawn break.